By: Jill Wunrow
GREEN BAY, Wis. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) - Green Bay men's soccer senior Tony Walls (Wauwatosa, Wis.) has been invited to participate in the 2012 Adidas MLS Player Combine held in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. at Central Broward Regional Park from Jan. 6-10. Walls was also recently named to the NCAA All-Great Lakes Third Team for the second consecutive season.
"Tony is very deserving of both honors and I feel he finished out his college career with his best season," said first year head coach Kris Kelderman. "He was the rock of our team, setting the tone for us defensively and getting involved on the attack, leading us in scoring."
In addition to being a Third Team All-Region selection, Walls earned Horizon League Player of the Year, First Team All-League and All-Tournament Team honors his senior year after scoring seven goals and dishing out five assists. The midfielder led Green Bay to an 11-7-1 overall and 5-3 conference record in his final campaign with the Phoenix. Walls is now ready and eager to take his game to the next level.
"I was just waiting and wasn't sure what was going to happen; it was pretty exciting when I found out, I couldn't stop smiling," said Walls about the moment he received the invitation. "The combine is a really good opportunity for me to showcase myself and prove to all the coaches there that I can play at the professional level."
Fifty-two college seniors from 31 Division I schools across the nation are invited to participate in the annual MLS Player Combine. The initial player list was determined by a panel of Division I college coaches, representing all conferences, who nominated and voted for players in addition to MLS coaches. Kelderman is the MLS representative for the Horizon League. Walls will be one of 19 midfielders participating in the Combine and the only player from the Horizon League.
"I'm excited for the opportunity Tony has because I feel I have a pretty good idea what it takes for players to make the jump from the college to the pro game," said Kelderman who was an assistant in the MLS for four years prior to coming to Green Bay. "Tony is a tough guy that can step in and handle the challenges of the MLS both mentally and physically and I'm excited because I think he's a guy who's flying under the radar."
"I have been training with the team every day in order to keep myself in game shape and I do a little extra fitness on my own," Walls said. "I'm just going to make the best of this opportunity and see what happens."
Coaches and technical staffs from all 19 MLS clubs will be in attendance to scout the talent at the 17th annual player combine. For the eighth consecutive year, the MLS SuperDraft will be held in conjunction with the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Convention, and take place on Jan. 12. The first round of the SuperDraft will be broadcast live on ESPN2 beginning at 11 a.m. CT and will include two rounds and 38 overall selections, with the Montreal Impact selecting first overall.
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